Reviews

A Fond Farewell

I’ve had a lot of fun as review editor for the folknik for the past three and a half years, having a range of CDs and musical books pass through my hands, and being in touch with the SFFMC’s enthusiastic reviewers. But I am now turning my energy to studying for a Master’s in Library and Information Science.

—Lisa Hubbell

Editor:

I’ll miss Lisa’s expertise with the CD reviews and her accuracy also. But, having attended library school at the University of California, I know how demanding it can be, so I wish her well in her courses and her future career as a librarian.

Latest free CDs available to review writers—this could be you! Contact if interested.

  1. Old Blind Dogs, Wherever Yet May Be. “Old Blind Dogs bring freshness and color to acoustic music steeped in centuries of Scottish folklore and history. ” ((Los Angeles Times)) Samples at compassrecords.com/album.php?id=842
  2. Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Legacy. Trad-inspired originals with Jody Stecher, Keith Little, Paul Knight; and guests Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Tim O’Brien, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. Samples at compassrecords.com/album.php?id=842

CD REVIEWS

Peter Kasin & David Adrianowicz, With Shipmates All Around
CD info and samples: www.cdbaby.com/cd/Adrianowicz4

Once again, Richard Adrianowicz and Peter Kasin have opened up the eyes of sea shanty and sea song singers with their third album With Shipmates All Around. Yes, they have dredged the far reaches of traditional sea music to uncover songs that have seldom seen the light of day in the last 150 years. They not only found these obscure songs, but they deliver them in traditional ways that ooze with authenticity.

This well-researched album includes 21 songs from a wide range of sources, including some from the recent work that Bob Walser has done on the J. M. Carpenter collection of sea songs. Richard and Peter’s voices are so well suited to the material that everything seems just right. Then, to top it off, their musicianship—with Peter’s fine fiddle and Richard’s tasteful guitar—shines on such unusual songs as “The Pretty Maid Milking Her Cow.”

This album is definitely a keeper and a superb resource for anyone wishing to expand their repertoire of sea songs.

—Dick Holdstock

Patricia Shih (ed.), Truly Rotten Gigs From Hell: The Funny, The Sad, The Unbelievably Bad True Tales from the Music Trenches..
308 pages (Xlibris Corporation, Long Island, NY, 2010). www.patriciashih.com/ recordings.html

A talented and popular singer/songwriter has created an enjoyable book about the misadventures that mark every musician’s life, those disasters that in retrospect may bring a smile. About three dozen performers tell 77 stories that cover the gamut, along with photos and bios.

There’s a great foreword by Tom Chapin (who faced a hostile audience of 10,000!) and a thoughtful introduction by the editor, who puts it all in perspective: “What is it in the power of music that makes us go where most sane people fear to tread? The reward must be in the music itself. The very act of making music is like making love: reason and logic has nothing to do with it. Like lovemaking, it’s a passion, a chance to use one’s whole body, heart, mind and spirit to share what is undeniably one of humankind’s greatest gifts. Too bad that bed is so hard and full of nails…”

This is an excellent, very readable book, with delightfully harrowing stories by famous (and future famous) performers. As Nancy Tucker said of her misadventure, “This was worse than inhaling the mosquito and gagging onstage for what seemed like an eternity in front of an audience of 500 teen­agers.” Read about Charlie King competing with a well-meaning peace vigil foot washing ceremony and other unexpected events. And there was Oscar Brand’s “Up against the wall” moment, and the Bill Staines broom rescue. Pete Seeger finds himself in a (conservative) lion’s den, Ray Korona battles public transportation, and Puff loses his magic when Peter, Paul & Mary cross paths with Chevy Chase and Robin Williams! There’s Patricia Shih involved in “musical murder at the Old Mill Stream,” and Dick Kniss missing some real mur­ders. Then there’s Sammie Haynes under the “New Hampshire moon,” and Leni Matlin and the bowl­ing alley riot. So many stories! The most surprising one was Jackson Gillman’s “Battle Pay,” describing the two sides of his particular Gig From Hell.

For snail mail, send $20 per paperback, or $30 per hardcover, plus $4 for S&H for first book, $1 for each additional book. Make check payable to Shih Enterprises, Inc. and mail to PO Box 1554, Huntington, NY 11743. Do indicate if you want it personalized/signed.

—Sol Weber